In keeping with its new strategy of providing more advanced technology in its products, Honda Malaysia has upgraded the Accord 2.4 VTi-L to a VTi-L Advance variant with the addition of the Honda SENSING safety package. This is the second Honda model in Malaysia with Honda SENSING after the all-new CR-V which went on sale in July this year.

Priced ‘slightly more’ (RM169,800) than the Accord 2.4 VTi-L which will be discontinued, the new variant continues to be a class leader where safety equipment is concerned (it is also the sales leader in its segment). It’s interesting that Honda Malaysia has chosen this time to upgrade the Accord since it’s no secret that there is already a new generation launched in some markets.

As it usually takes about a year from the time a new generation is launched (usually in the USA) to the time the new model begins local assembly in Malaysia, perhaps there are still many more months to go and to maintain its dominance in the segment, the company decided to offer the new technology first rather than wait to do with the next generation.

The Honda SENSING package consists of six systems which are for driver-assistance. While they will act independently to prevent an accident, the driver must still give attention to driving and be ready to act accordingly in a hazardous situation. Nevertheless, with Honda SENSING, driving can also be less stressful which helps motoring safety.

The Honda SENSING system uses a camera as well as a radar to monitor the road ahead (CR-V shown).

The six systems are Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW).

However, there is one difference between the ACC system in the CR-V’s Honda SENSING package, and the one in the Accord. The Accord’s ACC does not have the Low Speed Follow (LSF) capability which allows the car to come to a stop when a car ahead stops and resume moving when the other car starts moving again. The ACC can be activated at speeds over 30 km/h and will then adjust the cruising speed to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead. Should the set speed be too high, then the speed will be reduced and the set speed will be resumed when there is no vehicle ahead. Should the vehicle in front decelerate to a speed less than 30 km/h, the ACC will shut down and the driver will be alerted by a warning sound, so he or she should be ready to brake.

Unlike the system in the new CR-V, the Adaptive Cruise Control system for the Accord’s Honda SENSING package does not have the Low Speed Follow capability, so the car will not stop and start moving again. If the speed drops below 30 km/h, the system will switch off and the driver will have to be ready to brake if necessary.

The omission of the LSF capability was explained as being due to the current Accord having a foot brake rather than an electronic brake, like the CR-V. When the next generation comes around, it will have an electronic brake and then the ACC will have the LSF feature as well. It’s a nice feature to have, and you can even cruise through toll plazas since the car will follow the speed of the car ahead. But for now, the driver will just have to give attention while using ACC.

Click here to read more about the other features in the Honda SENSING package.

One useful safety feature in the Accord is the LANEWATCH display on the dashboard. This uses a tiny camera in the mirror on the left door to monitor the area along the side of the car. It automatically comes on when the left signal is activated and the driver can see whether there is any road-user coming up along that side. It’s better than a Blind Spot Monitor which only gives a warning by a flashing symbol or sound as the driver can see the areas which may not be visible in the mirrors.

Honda LANEWATCH supplements the leftside door mirror and used a small camera in the mirror housing to scan the area along the left side of the car. It activates whenever the signal indicator is used.

Another good thing about LANEWATCH is that the display screen’s position in the middle of the dashboard means that the driver’s head does not have to turn so much to the left. Even at night, the screen is bright and clear so that other vehicles can be spotted easily.

Other than the addition of Honda SENSING, there are no other technical or cosmetic changes to the Accord 2.4 VTi-L. The 2-litre VTi-L variant will still be available and its price remains at RM149,350.

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[Chips Yap]

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